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UPDATED: Apparent Chemical Suicide Forces Evacuation of South End Building

A young woman apparently committed suicide by ingesting a chemical used to make airbags, authorities say.

Editor's Note: This article was updated at 10:27 a.m. with information regarding the victim.

Four Boston Police officers and an ambulance crew were taken to the hospital and 12 people were evacuated from a South End apartment building after a woman committed suicide by ingesting a toxic substance, according to fire officials.

Boston Deputy Fire Chief Steve Dunbar told the Boston Globe that a young woman ingested the chemical on the first floor of 676 Massachusetts Avenue at about 9 p.m. and was transported to Boston Medical Center where she was later pronounced dead.

He also said four police officers and the two EMS workers from the ambulance team were being quarantined at BMC to find out if they were affected by the chemical.

According to Dunbar, a relative of the woman, whose name and age were not available, stated that the victim told her she had ingested the substance and asked her cats be taken care of.

The victim appeared to be young, but fire officials could not be more specific, according to the Globe.

According to Fox News Boston, the victim was a 25-year-old Ph.D candidate at Boston University Medical School. The school has not identified her, but said she was a student in the School of Pharmacology.

It is believed the substance ingested by the victim was sodium azide, a chemical normally used in the production of airbags, which “can metabolize into some kind of cyanide,” Dunbar told the Globe. He added that the woman died about an hour or two after ingesting the chemical.

No further information about the victim is being released at this time.

The Fire Department declared a Level 3 hazmat alert, the higest level possible and authorities evacuated the four-story building and two neighboring brownstones, and shut down Mass. Ave. between Harrison Avenue and Washington Street as a precaution, a report from CBS Boston said.

Entry teams made several trips inside the building and removed items which will be examined for hazardous materials and then turned over to the Boston Police.

According to fire officials, residents were allowed back inside their homes around 1:45 a.m. after determining the air was safe.

The police and emergency workers who were hospitalized all showed no signs of being affected by the chemical, fire officials added.

South End Patch will update this story with additional information if, and when, such information becomes available.


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